Grief and goodbyes
Updated: Mar 3
Everyone feels differently when it comes to experiencing grief and loss, understandably so because we all are unique as individuals and we all have unique relationships with the ones we have lost. We all process our emotions differently, so it makes sense that we all grieve differently. So, please, to those who have lost someone close, do not feel like you are crazy by those who ask you to move on with your life, to stay strong, BE stronger, you are lucky for the time you had, or she was suffering, why are you still sad? Just to name a few.
We know all of those things. They are well-intentioned, they want you to be happy.
Those words will not change how you FEEL. I feel you.
Saying those things actually minimizes your grief, by telling you that your grief has a time limit, that your sadness has an expiry date wrapped up in a proposed should-do list. Really?
Your peeps who are dispensing this advice DO want you to be ok, they want to fix the situation, they want you to live your life and truly want you to be happy. But it is alienating to ask that you shut off and move on, as well as piling more pressure on you to what is already a hard pill for you to swallow. I can hear all the “yes’s!”
Here are some ideas that can be helpful to offer someone experiencing grief:
Offer an ear for them to just vent or a shoulder to cry on
Let them repeat the same story to you over and over again, we need to process this huge loss, don’t worry it's perfectly normal and healthy to repeat ourselves (says, my grief therapist)
Tell them you can’t imagine what they are going through if you haven't been through it, it feels good to be validated
Do not say stay strong, we know that already. We are mustering up all of our strength daily to push through it, let us know how much we are thought of and have a place to lean on when we are feeling blue
Check-in to let them know they are not alone because they most likely feel alone and lost and do not want to feel like a Debbie-downer to our friends and family members, the struggle is real
Another point I will make, as it related to me, is the idea of saying goodbye.
I was devouring as many articles and books that I could find on grief and loss and listening to many incredible podcasts; searching for answers; how can grief be this painful, agonizing, and feel like it will never end, even though people say it does get better. So when is this happening?
Day by day, hour by hour is how I roll. It does start to feel less overwhelming. Time. Give yourself time. It will not pass, but it will feel less agonizing. All in your own time.
One of the many takeaways I received was the idea of not having to say goodbye- this hugely resonated with me. I am not talking about spending time with our loved ones before they leave this planet. I am referring to now. Once they have left.
I do not want to say goodbye.
Why should I?
My mother is ever-present in my life, just not in the same way she was before.
She was not only my mother but also my best friend, my laugh-out-loud partner, my discuss things with no one else partner, my cry to partner, my dance in the aisles at the grocery store partner and my lifeline in many ways. We thought alike, and we enjoyed talking about the same things, we spoke 10 times a day if weren't together.
So, I will NOT say goodbye.
It does not serve me to say goodbye. I miss her hugs, her physical presence and her words of wisdom, and her joy for life. I will continue to speak to her, laugh with her and feel her wisdom and her beautiful soul with me as I navigate my soul journey.
All I am saying is you do you.
We all must go through it to get through it.
There's a quote I love from Tony Robbins “don’t take advice from anyone who has not gone through what you are going through.” What I learned is that the intensity of grief goes with the intensity of the love. No one can possibly understand the intensity of your relationship but you. I will say once I let go of the idea of saying goodbye, I feel slightly (ever-so) lighter. I will always feel a void, a hole in my heart, and sadness about missing my mom.
I think of my grief as an ocean.
Sometimes it's still and calm; at times a tidal wave can emerge from out of nowhere and I am down for the count, in a puddle of tears where ever I am standing. That's ok though, it means I loved deeply.
So deeply. For those who have lost someone dear, I feel you and want you to know that you are not alone.
So what I do now is say hello when I want to speak to my mom. We chat, we laugh, sometimes there are tears. But I will never say goodbye.
Love, Dawna xo